A psychotherapist has revealed the tell-tale signs to look out for if you suspect your partner of being a narcissist.
Katarina Valentini, from Slovenia, outlined the nine warning signs that you’re in a narcissistic relationship in her book ‘My Narcissist and I: How to find happiness’.
The psychotherapist and life coach said that narcissist are more likely to be men than women in relationships.
She outlined the nine tell-tale signs, suggesting narcissistic men would everything them, and leave you feeling confused about where you stand.
Analyze your role in the relationship and the emotional responses you have to it.
As a rule, the relationship is all about him, your needs and desires rarely get acknowledged and almost always remain unfulfilled.
Even if he asks you where you want to go out for dinner, and you put forward a suggestion, he ignores it and suggests something he considers a better choice.
The bottom line being that he always knows best. You are always putting him first, even at your own expense. But you do it anyhow either because you feel obligated to, or are manipulated and guilt tripped into it.
Your feelings oscillate between unconditional love for the man and devotion to him and the suppressed gut feeling that you must run away.
When you are around him you feel bliss, extreme joy, happiness and peace because he is attentive, caring and protective.
As soon as you do or say something that irritates him, he withdraws and punishes you by becoming distant, ignoring you or rejecting you completely.
You feel abandoned, empty, hurt, guilty and ashamed. These phases change at regular intervals, leaving you confused as to where the relationship stands.
You know something is not right with the relationship but are unable to let go completely.
He always manages to crawl back into your life, despite your resolve to break free.
He can make a return to your life even if you have not spoken for several years.
Your partner brings out the worst in you, not the best.
You want to be a better person because of him, but you notice that you act differently when you are around him, especially when he withdraws.
You do and say things that are utterly out of character.
You are shocked and very negatively surprised at how you react to his words or action.
He brings out your horrible side and elicits responses you feel ashamed of. More often than not, you feel mortified, guilty, disappointed, sad, angry and helpless.
You are unable to control yourself, him or the situation and are afraid you might be losing your mind.
You are suffering from emotional distress, or in the worst case scenario, from PTSD. Being in an emotionally abusive relationship does that to you.
In a narcissistic relationship, you are not always certain what is yours, what is his, what is common, what is the cause and what is the consequence.
It starts relatively reasonable – you meet someone you like, you flirt, court, try to get to know each other better, want to spend more time together then you fall in love however the time comes to start planning your future together, he starts pulling away for no obvious reason.
Even after several years spent together, the relationship seems to be going nowhere.
The only linear progression in the narcissistic relationship is leading you to a spiral of hate and despair.
There is no actual reciprocity of emotions, like you would expect in an intimate relationship and you seem to be the only one making all the effort to make the relationship work.
At the same time, your partner is trying to get the upper hand in everything you do together.
While you believe you have met the love of your life or at least the person you would like to spend your life with, the other person only seems to be concerned in maneuvering you like a puppet on a string.
You feel manipulated with, and always in the wrong. You constantly feel the need to mend the relationship, or rescue it from failure.
It does not mean that there are no arguments in a healthy relationship. There are, but never as extreme as in narcissistic relationship.
You are unable to resolve your problems as reasonable adult persons, acting out an adult ego state, not out of a child or parent ego state.
This means that you react out a regressed state, repeating reactions you had when you were children, or mimicking the reactions of your parents.
You are willing to risk it all, but your hopes and dreams are shattered on a regular basis.
In spite of it, you are prepared to tolerate this ordeal for a very long time because of the immense love you feel for your narcissist.
When a healthy couple breaks up, they usually do it for good and do not feel the need to repeatedly revisit the relationship.
Most of us break up in a civilised manner, even though at times emotions are running high and things can get ugly.
When the time comes, you are capable of saying goodbye and wishing luck to your partner.
In a narcissistic relationship you wish your partner the worst and hope karma settles the score for you as soon as possible.
You feel annihilated and in need to demolish the other person.
There shutting down on one side and hanging on the other, bending over backwards to save the relationship.
Partners feel the constant urge to revisit the story, no matter how painful it was for both of them.
If a healthy relationship comes to an end, you are still sad and heartbroken, but the process of getting back on your feet is shorter.
You do not need to recover before you start mourning the loss of the relationship.
When a narcissistic relationship breaks up, instead of focusing on yourself and your getting better, you waste time focusing on revenge, knowing that you are not capable of it because you still love your narcissist.
You are bound to get caught in another cycle of your script pattern.
Katarina K Valentini’s book My Narcissist and I: How to find happiness is out now in bookshops and online